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Sonnen tips McDonald to cause upset in London

ESPN staff
February 15, 2013 « England thrash New Zealand to win series | Chartbeat test »
ESPN's Ben Blackmore and Gareth A. Davies discuss UFC London

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Chael Sonnen has made his picks for Saturday's UFC London event, and he is backing Michael McDonald to stun Renan Barao in the main event.

McDonald, at 22 years of age, steps into the Octagon at Wembley Arena hoping to become the UFC's youngest champion by snatching Barao's interim bantamweight belt.

Barao is the favourite and boasts slick striking skills allied to a dangerous ground game. He has won his last 29 fights and recently told ESPN he will finish McDonald via submission.

However, Sonnen is backing the challenger who arguably has greater knockout power. McDonald is utterly unpredictable inside the Octagon, telling ESPN he has "no strategy whatsoever", and is yet to lose in the UFC.

"We're going to see an upset. McDonald wins this with his boxing. But this is razor thin so don't miss it," Sonnen said on UFC Tonight.

In the co-main event two of the world's top featherweights go toe-to-toe, with Cub Swanson looking for a fourth straight win against young talent Dustin Piorier. Sonnen believes Poirier's recent loss to the Korean Zombie will play a part in the outcome of the bout.

"Poirier's going to get it," he said. "He needs it a little bit more and I think he's a little bit sharper right now."

And Sonnen predicted it might be a tough night for England's Jimi Manuwa, who takes on kickboxing veteran Cyrille Diabate in the light-heavyweight division.

"I've got to go with the world champion striker, I've got to go with Cyrille. I think Cyrille takes it on the feet," he said.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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